An interview with Drew West
By Tiyani Rikhotso
There was some drama leading up to Daisies this year with the reaction to their liquids policy and the pulling out of headliner Goldlink. In frustration, many rushed to sell their tickets. Amid all of this, Drew was given the opportunity to work at the festival with the Quicket team. When off shift she was allowed to jump into the action of the festival. Here’s what she had to say about her experience.
- What expectations did you have going into the festival? And did it meet them?
I had high expectations of the festival. The atmosphere, the food and specifically the music. I started hearing about it in primary school and in high school I looked forward to the idea of going but it didn’t live up to what I thought it would be. The crowd was smaller than what it’s seemed to be in the past which affected the vibe of the festival and there weren’t as many artists and bands as there have been in the past. Also, personally as a young coloured woman, in many ways I felt out of place in that kind of festival environment. At certain points it felt like the Daisies was more suited to people with a certain budget, who dress a certain way and like a certain type of music. I still managed to have a good time but maybe the festival can look at making it a more inclusive space in the future.
- Which artists were you looking forward to the most?
I was really excited for 6lack and Mura Masa. There were some performances I was looking forward to that I didn’t get to see either because I was on shift or waiting for friends to get off shift and get ready. We all know it’s hard to coordinate things with your “squad” when you’re out or at festivals, but this wasn’t the end of the world because I got to experience some great artists like Anime and YoungstaCPT.
- Were you at all intimidated by the idea of camping?
No, I’ve camped a lot in the past so I knew what to expect. But being experienced doesn’t take the stress out of it. The wind was quite rough at certain times and blew over and damaged our tent which shows just of some of the things that can go wrong while camping, but we were able to make a plan and organise another tent.
- With thousands of people out on a farm for 3 days, most people would be terrified of the thought of using showers and bathrooms. Was there anything to fear?
Public bathrooms don’t really scare me. Bugs and worms scare me more. The facilities were pretty good especially as I was in the crew camping area. The only nasty thing was the collection of stuff some people left in the shower like soap boxes and other litter.
- What were the foods that got you through the weekend?
Salty cracks definitely top the list, and then Marie biscuits and hummus were also life savers. I also got to taste some of the food from the food trucks and food stalls, but those simple snacking essentials really pulled through.
- Judging by the high temperatures over the weekend the sun came to join in on the fun. How did you deal with the heat?
Drinking lots of water was the best way especially as there was barely any shade. When I did find even the tiniest bit of shade I hid in it. The tents burned up during the day, so you couldn’t rely on them for sun protection. I also dunked a scarf in water and kept that around my head. I really recommend that for keeping cool.
- Did you manage to socialise and make new friends?
Yeah, I did, the festival is a great place to socialise. Complaining about the heat or long lines at the bar is a great way to bond with people. I mostly got to know the people I was working with. Like a foreign exchange student who’s at UCT. I helped him with his bags when we arrived at camp and we’ve made plans to meet up.
- Did anything unexpected happen over the weekend?
Losing my phone one night was unexpected and stressful at the time, but you know what they say, “you know it’s a good night when someone loses their phone!”. Luckily it was found. A kind soul picked it up and my friends helped get in contact with them, so I could get it back.
- Is there anything you would do differently? And what do you think Daisies should do differently next time?
I would take less things, especially less clothes. It’s not worth it taking 2 pairs of jeans and some of the other things I packed. I would also spend less money (my bank statements were still coming in a few days afterwards). As for Daisies, I think they should revise the completely cashless system. They should encourage cards but there should still be an option to pay in cash. There should also be more water points and the camping could be more organised. One thing they should be commended for was their commitment to having a plastic free festival. Water was served in cans and there were only environmentally friendly straws. It’s empowering to see a festival taking steps against climate change.
- Would you do it again?
Definitely! Both attending the festival and working it. I had really good shifts, so I had a nice balance of working and festival going. The Jägermeister silent disco was a lot of fun and that alone would keep me coming back. Working also offered the nice benefit of transport, crew camping and some hard-earned money. I was working crew access control and got to meet the drummer of Johnny Cradle and spotted a few other celebrities which was a nice cherry on top.